Historical Writings

Today in Christian History

Friday, April 4

896
Death of controversial Pope Formosus. His bones will be exhumed and his corpse tried by Pope Stephen VI but he will be reburied with full honors in St. Peter's the following year under Pope Romanus.
1507
Future German reformer Martin Luther, at age 21, was ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic church.
1523
Leonard Kopp helps twelve nuns escape from their cloister at Nimschen in Saxony, hidden in his fish barrels. One of them, Katherina von Bora, will wed Martin Luther.
1541
Spanish ecclesiastic reformer and mystic Ignatius Loyola, 50, was elected the first General of the Jesuit Order, which he had helped establish the previous year.
1634
Death in Amsterdam of Episcopius, leading Arminian theologian.
1660
King Charles II of England, still in exile, issues the Breda Declaration, making promises that he will violate soon after his return to England, among them "We do declare a liberty to tender consciences; and that no man shall be disquieted, or called in question, for differences of opinion in matters of religion which do not disturb the peace of the kingdom." He will be a great persecutor of Presbyterians and of Independents such as John Bunyan.
1687
King James II of England issues a Declaration of Indulgence, granting full liberty of worship in England. Because he goes around the constitution by not consulting Parliament, even many of its beneficiaries are displeased.
1965
German theologian Jurgen Moltmann revealed in a letter to Karl Barth: 'Polemics always makes one a little one-sided.'
1968
Assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, of Baptist minister the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., a vocal advocate of civil rights.
1995
Death of Sun Yanli, a hymn-writer and an eminent leader in the Three-Self Patriotic Church, the government-sanctioned church of China. Despite his associations, he was cruelly persecuted for several years during the Cultural Revolution.

Copyright Statement
© 1987-2020, William D. Blake. Portions used by permission of the author, from "Almanac of the Christian Church"